Arts & Culture News

Texas Artist Carolyn Patten Fights For Reproductive Rights With Irreverent Accessories

One of the stickers in Carolyn Patten's new line, which benefits women's reproductive rights.
One of the stickers in Carolyn Patten's new line, which benefits women's reproductive rights. Carolyn Patten
Last week was a hit to the ovaries with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In addition to protesting and voting, fundraising is crucial for those who favor preserving women’s reproductive rights.

Artist Carolyn Patten saw a way to contribute a year ago with her line of quirky baseball hats. After quitting her job as a CPA in Houston, she was on an extended trip across the United States when inspiration struck. While walking a friend’s greyhound pup in Bend, Oregon, Patten had a brief exchange with a new dad pushing a stroller and noticed his faded T-shirt had some slogan referring to Satan and orgies.

“A lot of people in Bend are liberal but emotionally more conservative. They’re not having orgy sex parties, at least that I know of,” Patten says with a laugh. “I had this idea [to make hats] unrelated to abortion; I just thought it was funny.”

Emblazoned with “Follow Me to the Satanic Orgy,” her classic dad-cap concept was initially just a way to make extra cash. But, as the orders from friends started pouring in, a bigger idea came into play.

“I got the shipment of the first nine hats at the end of August, and it was Sept. 1 that Texas made the ruling, including the abortion ban [after six weeks], so the timing was synchronistic," she says. "I had such a strong reaction; I put two and two together. On top of that, I read an article that lifted me up about the Satanic Temple, which was taking advantage of no separation of church and state [in their protests]. I thought, if Christians can do this bullshit, we can do this bullshit, too.”

Because the issue was bubbling up in her home state, Patten felt it was important to have 100% of the net proceeds ($15 per hat) go toward raising money — first for Avow, and now for the National Network of Abortion Funds.
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The hats made by Carolyn Patten make fun of misconceptions about liberaal goals.
Carolyn Patten

Offering styles in two fonts — Law & Order SVU and a classic “Dark Lord” Gothic typeface — the collection of unisex caps is now available in special colors named Bukkake Black, Butt Plug Black, Fornication Fuchsia and Penetration Purple. Patten is adding tees and a trucker-style hat with her newest design featuring a sugar pink logo straight from the toy aisle announcing “Abortion is healthcare.”

Having spent zero dollars on marketing, the artist has nonetheless sold over 300 caps to date. Now based in Santa Cruz, California, her side hustle has turned into her main gig as she fights for reproductive
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The artist is raising funds for pro-choice groups with her merch.
Carolyn Patten
 freedom via a site and funny Insta feed @followmetothesatanicorgy.

“This is a lot of work for me, sourcing the hats and figuring it all out. I just threw my website together, and I have Instagram, but I haven’t paid for any ads," she says. "Any cost I put into this hat is taking away from what I donate. But so far, it’s working. I’m going to Los Angeles on Tuesday as a recent Playboy centerfold wants to do a photo shoot for me. She’s got one million followers, and she’s doing it for free!”

As Patten gets the word out, her main goal is to help keep both spirits and fundraising dollars high across the nation.

“This hat was a creation out of despair and feeling so powerless," she says. "There’s so much doom and gloom and scary news out there, but I don’t want there to be sales because of what the government is doing; I want there to be sales because you care about the community or just like orgies. I want to show that there are good people out there that do care, and we can laugh together and not just focus on this scary time.”
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It's no dreamhouse for Texas women fighting for reproductive rights.
Carolyn Patten
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